Why that glass of wine with dinner isn’t so bad after all: Experts say a tipple every other day is perfectly healthy after finding flaw in Lancet paper which said any amount of alcohol was bad

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  • A Lancet study in 2019 suggested that any amount of alcohol is injurious to health
  • New paper reveals a flaw in a statistical analysis of 500,000 people studied
  • Researchers say ‘an occasional glass of wine or glass of beer’ is perfectly safe

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An ‘occasional’ glass of wine is perfectly safe, scientists insist to allay fears that a tipple with dinner could be harmful to health.

a historical paper published in Knife In 2019, there were fears that consuming even small amounts of alcohol could lead to changes in blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke.

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This overturned a mainstream theory that a regular glass of wine may actually be beneficial to heart health because of the protective antioxidants contained in the drink.

But new reports from scientists at University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine claim the Lancet analysis was flawed.

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Sir Nicholas Wald, specialist in epidemiology and preventive medicine at UCL many times While it is difficult to define what a safe amount of alcohol is, it is not accurate to say that one glass is harmful.

He said: ‘Now one cannot say that any amount of alcohol is harmful in the same way as one can say that any amount of smoking is harmful.

‘Sometimes no more than a glass of wine or a glass of beer, say, every other day would be acceptable given our current state of knowledge. One need not feel that the consumption of only safe alcohol is nil.

Scientists claim in a study that an ‘occasional glass of wine or beer’ with dinner is completely safe

The NHS recommends that adults drink no more than 14 units each week – that's 14 single shots of the spirits or six pints of beer or a bottle and a half of wine

The NHS recommends that adults drink no more than 14 units each week – that’s 14 single shots of the spirits or six pints of beer or a bottle and a half of wine

Study finds that drinking three glasses of red wine a week can help lower your blood pressure

You shouldn’t feel guilty for drinking red wine in moderation during the week—in fact, it may give you health benefits, as a study in August claimed.

A team of experts from Germany and Northern Ireland looked at the association between consumption of flavonoids found in red wine and other food and beverages in a sample of nearly 1,000 Germans.

They found that drinking three standard-sized glasses (125 ml) of red wine a week could lower blood pressure.

It is believed that flavonoids promote relaxation of the muscles in our arteries, causing them to widen and therefore improve blood flow.

However, experts stress that you shouldn’t start if you don’t already drink, and that drinkers should always keep official drinking guidelines in mind.

This study published in the journal high blood pressure, was conducted by scientists from Queen’s University Belfast and Kiel University in Germany.

According to the team, flavonoids — a nutrient abundant in fruits, vegetables, tea and other plant-based foods — have a positive effect on blood pressure levels.

Flavonoids are broken down by the trillion-strong community of microorganisms in our gut, known as the microbiota.

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The new paper criticizes the analytical techniques of the Lancet study that were based on genetics.

In that study, Oxford scientists tracked half a million people in China from 2008 to 2017.

They compared a group that could not drink at all because of an alcohol allergy and compared them with those who drank different levels of alcohol.

It focused on those who were genetically unable to drink as a reliable measure of abstinence to achieve faulty self-reporting.

The analysis found that two-thirds of participants who were able to drink alcohol had a higher risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

But the new study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, found flaws in the analysis techniques used by the Oxford researchers.

Most of the major research on the effects of alcohol on stroke and blood pressure shows a ‘J-shaped’ relationship between alcohol and stroke risk.

People who abstain from alcohol have a slightly higher risk in general than those who have moderate amounts. But heavy drinkers are always most at risk.

When these risks are plotted on a graph, the curve takes the shape of a letter J.

The UCL and LSHTM researchers took a hypothetical population, where they knew that accurate statistical analysis should reveal this J-shaped curve.

When they ran the statistical analysis used in the Lancet study, it did not give the correct size.

This led the researchers to believe that there was a flaw in the methodology of the previous paper.

Professor Chris Frost, a medical statistician at LSHTM and one of the study’s co-authors, said the study showed ‘a little alcohol is acceptable … too much is harmful’.

He said the paper should not encourage drinking, but serves to highlight that there was a flaw in the analysis of the Lancet study that suggested there is no safe limit for consumption.

The UK Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines say it is not safe to drink more than 14 units – 6 pints or 1.6 bottles of wine – per week spread over three days or more.

Do you drink too much alcohol? 10 questions that reveal your risk

One screening tool widely used by medical professionals is AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test). Developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the 10-question test is considered the gold standard for helping determine whether someone has a problem with alcohol abuse.

The test is reproduced here with permission from WHO.

To accomplish this, answer each question and note down the respective score.

Your Score:

0-7: You are within sensible drinking limits and you have a lower risk of alcohol-related problems.

Over 8: Indicate harmful or dangerous drinking.

8-15: Moderate risk. Drinking alcohol at your current level puts you at risk of developing problems with your health and life in general, such as work and relationships. Consider cutting…

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